Inestable Eu, 2019

Unstable Eu, 2019
Painting, 210.5 x 130.5 x 3.8 cm

This work is part of a series begun by Yamandú Canosa in the 1990s, in which he uses cartography as a narrative or to tell a story about the world. The idea of cartography is central to this artist's work, since, although formally heterogeneous and expressed in very diverse languages and formats, conceptually it addresses ideas such as the world and the horizon, travel and identities, shifting cultures and the experience of displacement. Indebted to Situationism and its idea of détournement, Canosa takes maps beyond their physical and geographical literalism. As he explains in relation to this series of works: ‘All cartography is political, and the cartographic manipulations proposed in this series of works sometimes construct a narrative of the state of affairs in general; at other times, a commentary on a particular historical or political context, or – in an alteration of the established relationships – a vindication of mestizaje and transculturality.’

The image of a disintegrating physical wall, along with the colour red, add intensity to this large oil painting. It presents the map of Europe in a state of maximum fragility, a map that is distorted, fragmented and with some duplicated sections. Inestable Eu was part of the exhibition The Empathetic House in the Uruguay Pavilion of the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. The exhibition was conceived as a way of accessing the global landscape by being immersed in it. Each wall of the pavilion was a cardinal point and, hung at eye level to create a horizon line, the artist placed his works on the four walls as a global common space or shared landscape. The works refer to the complexity of the sense of belonging, transculturality and the always unstable emotional, cultural and political links that we establish with the landscape. In the context of this exhibition, Inestable Eu was installed on the North Wall of the pavilion. As the artist explains: ‘Inestable Eu is a commentary on the current European situation, in which the confused cartography threatens to collapse, supported by points of maximum fragility. The entire structure of the map hangs from a single point on the top edge of the space. Above, the inverted map of Great Britain post-Brexit hangs on a wall. Down below, Greece is dripping, sinking.’

Technical details

Original title:
Inestable Eu
Registration number:
Canosa, Yamandú
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan
Object type:
Oil on canvas
210.5 x 130.5 x 3.8 cm (height x width x depth)
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan. National Collection of Contemporary Art
© Yamandú Canosa, VEGAP, Barcelona
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The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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